Depending on how you look at it, data on the HIV/AIDS epidemic can tell two very different stories. On the one hand, the world has made huge progress against HIV/AIDS. For example, more than half of all people living with HIV are receiving treatment. On the other hand, there are still way too many people contracting HIV, and donor funding is the same as it was a decade ago.
No matter how you look at it, the story is far from over. The world has seen a lot of news on HIV/AIDS in the past year; from the uplifting news that a second person was functionally cured of HIV, to the unfortunate news that a recent HIV vaccine was proven ineffective in trial.
We’ve rounded up some things you should know—both about the good news and about the challenges we face—to tell the full story of these numbers.
- Almost 65% of the people who need treatment for HIV are getting it – that’s 23.3 million people accessing the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives.
- Over 14 million people living with HIV are still not accessing the treatment they need.
- Fewer people contracted HIV last year than any other year since the UN started counting back in 1990.
- The world cut new infections among children by more than half in the last decade.
- Three people contract HIV every minute–that’s 1.7 million people globally last year alone. And young women account for two out of three new infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Young women account for two out of three new infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa.
- The countries most affected by HIV are spending more fighting it than ever before.
- Donor governments spent $8 billion to combat HIV in low- and middle-income countries in 2018, similar to funding levels a decade ago. And total financing is far short–$7 billion short–of where it needs to be by 2020 to end AIDS for good.
- Nearly 90% of donor government funding comes from just five countries: the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
What the future holds
- Promising new prevention tools are in the pipeline, such as an injectable drug for long-lasting HIV prevention. While it will take time for these tools to be fully developed, tested, and deployed, their potential to dramatically speed up the response to HIV/AIDS is huge.
- Any slowdown in the HIV response now risks a resurgence of the virus as Africa’s population grows. The number of young people in sub-Saharan Africa is growing faster than any other region in the world.
So how does this end?
The outcome rests squarely on the shoulders of today’s leaders. To accelerate our impact and ensure that every person can get the care and treatment they need, they must take action to close the resource gap, support innovation and strengthen health systems. Anything less could surrender the hard-earned gains of the past decade.